Dislocated kicked off the show. (Lauren Chiou / Daily Nexus)

UC Santa Barbara’s Associated Students Program Board hosted the annual Battle of the Bands in The Hub, located underneath the University Center on Feb. 22. This year’s bands — Dislocated, The Radar and Soul Tide were selected to perform by the Associated Students Program Board after auditioning via submitting a video recording of a performance through an online form. A small crowd formed in front of the stage as more students slowly tickled in. 

In a last-minute set change, Dislocated took the stage first with their performance of “Daffodil.” Lead vocalist and guitarist and second-year economics major Tate Cerasoli energized the crowd with his lively stage presence. Cerasoli accidentally told the crowd to follow their Discord instead of their Instagram, which rippled a laugh among crowd members (the band does not have a Discord for fans to keep up with … yet). Dislocated performed a set list consisting of primarily original songs, including “Dead In A Week,” which had audience members jiving and feeling the beat.

“Their originals were very creative,” attendee and second-year statistics major Maya Hoffstaft said. Second-year sociology major Emma Herbst agreed, saying, “The lyrics were very relatable.”

Dislocated formed in February 2023, marking this performance the band’s one-year anniversary. The group exudes rock ‘n’ roll confidence when performing, completely leaning into their rock aesthetic. Drummer and UCSB alum Matt Barger could be seen headbanging along to his beat in the back of the stage while Cerasoli moved around on stage during his guitar features. Bassist and second year sociology major Noah Friedman rated their performance a solid 8.5/10. 

Cerasoli, Friedman and guitarist and second-year computer science major Tanner Berman argued over their favorite song on the set list, before agreeing on “the cigarette song.” 

“We can’t say the actual name of the song … it seems inappropriate to say to a newspaper,” Cerasoli said. Barger disagreed with them since his favorite song was the last one in the set, “Tar.” 

During their post-performance interview, Dislocated excitedly shared that their new single will be released in April.

The next band to take the stage was The Radar. The band was originally a two-member group, consisting of the lead vocalist and second-year political science major Om Angarkar and guitarist and second-year physics and mathematics major Rusty Strauss. The two eventually recruited second-year ecology, evolution, and aquatic biology major Franklin Chen on guitar, second-year cell and developmental biology major Nate Tadros on bass and second-year computer engineering major June Mack on the drums. 

Angarkar had a talent for hyping up his bandmates and amping up the crowd, exuding stage presence and crowd control. This was especially clear during the band’s cover of “Kilby Girl” by The Backstreet Lovers. A couple of audience members made their way closer to the stage and began jumping along to the song as Angarkar spread his infectious energy through his on-stage presence.

“I felt my bones vibrate throughout my body,” second-year biopsychology major Finn Griffiths said about The Radar’s performance.

In the midst of his energetic performance, one of Chen’s guitar strings snapped. 

“I gotta play this without an E-string!” Chen exclaimed, holding up his guitar to show the crowd. Despite this, the band kept up their engaging performance and kept the crowd hooked. 

Strauss described the crowd’s energy in one word: groovin’!

“We love them, and we think they’re on the road to stardom,” audience member and second-year biology major Aimy Do said. “They’re the next One Direction,” second-year economics major Liem Do added.

“It was electric,” second-year biopsychology student Lauren Pearson said.

The Radar’s new single “Dreams” will be coming out soon on an unspecified date.

Soul Tide was the final band to perform. Dressed in The Beatles-esque outfits with dress shirts and ties, the band consists of fourth-year communication major Steven Bizzoco on lead vocals and bass, fourth-year communication major David Sun on guitar, second-year political science major Jacob Robledo on guitar and UCSB alum Connor McIntosh on the drums. 

Soultide performed a variety of songs, a setlist consisting of originals and covers. (Lauren Chiou / Daily Nexus)

Soul Tide kicked off their performance with “Sunny,”  an original song. Bizzoco, Sun and Robledo exuded on-stage energy, which was infectious as the crowd grew energetic as well. Audience excitement exploded during the performance of “Lose Control,” another original. Several audience members began dancing together and moving to the rhythm of the band. 

One of those audience members was fourth-year statistics and data science major Joseph Powers. He continued to dance throughout the entire set, at one point participating in a dance-off with The Radar’s guitarist, Chen.

“I thought it was amazing. Me, personally, I like high energy and upbeat [music],” Powers said about Soul Tide’s set. “They brought the energy, and I love to dance.”

The band came together in February 2023. Bizzoco and Sun attended last year’s Battle of the Bands and thought it would be a cool opportunity to compete. Their original “Surfin On A Cloud” is the band’s favorite song to perform. 

“[The] most fun we’ve ever had,” Sun commented on their Battle of the Bands experience. “We really got to talk to the other bands. It was really cool getting to know them more.”

After Soul Tide left the stage, it came time for the winner to be announced. The audience and bands eagerly awaited the judges’ decision, and ultimately Soul Tide was announced as the champions of this year’s Battle of the Bands.

Soul Tide posing for a picture after winning Battle of the Bands. (Lauren Chiou / Daily Nexus)

“Feels good, but it was never about winning. It was always just about playing the show,” Bizzoco remarked after the band’s victory. 

Despite the small crowd, all three bands put on energetic sets and properly engaged the crowd, making 2024’s Battle of the Bands electrifying.


This appeared in the Feb. 29 printed version of the Daily Nexus.